Saturday, April 07, 2007
(The Original) In the Sandbox...
Enough on Tillman
"When National Football League star Pat Tillman joined the Army soon after 9/11, Americans everywhere were justifiably proud. He may not have wanted to be a role model or an example, but that’s what he became.
But then, tragically, Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.
Now, three years after his death, his family’s relentless smear campaign against the Army for its handling of the case has erased all the good will his enlistment created — at least in my mind.
The sequence of bad decisions and public relations-motivated misrepresentations of what happened on that Afghan hillside were rightly denounced by the Tillman family. Those mistakes never should have happened.
But you know what? The guilty have been punished and the generals have groveled their apologies to the Tillmans. None of that is going to change what happened to Pat. What do they want, some poor Ranger to go to jail because, in the confusion of battle, a stray bullet hit their son? Friendly fire is a reality. It happens. Maybe if they had ever been in combat they would understand.
Tillman obviously cared about America and died fighting to protect it. Would he have wanted the Army to have to spend so much of its resources defending itself against politically motivated charges leveled by his family? Resources that could be better used to serve troops on the front lines?
At the bottom of all this, I think the Tillman family is simply in pain because their boy was taken from them. Nothing is more understandable than that. But the closure they seek will never come from publicly trashing the Army.
Tillmans, as a soldier, I’m asking you: When is enough enough?"
--Sgt. Mike Pryor, Combat Outpost War Eagle, Iraq (Stars & Stripes)
Girls of the Army: One, Two, Three, Four, Five
(Photos coutesy of Hot or Not)